Posts

College Planning

How to Save on College Tuition

College Planning

College isn’t cheap. There are a lot of costs associated with furthering your education and for most it’s a heavy burden to carry. If you are looking for ways to save on your college tuition, then look no further. Here is a list of the best ways to cut down the cost of your schooling.

Choose your college wisely

When it comes to deciding what college to enroll in, the price of that school should be a major factor to consider. College tuition can vary in price and we are talking a difference of $7,000 a semester to $27,000 a semester. A good rule of thumb is to avoid the private schools and choose a public school. Private schools will always have higher tuition compared to public schools. As well as choosing a public school, go to an in-state school. Tuition fees for out-of-state students can more than double in cost.

Live off campus

Some schools require you to live on campus the first year, forcing you to pay more for a tiny dorm room instead of sharing a 2-bedroom apartment with a roommate. If there is no way around it then do your time and get out of there. There are loopholes however. Already having an established residency within driving distance from campus will get you out of living on campus the first year at a lot of colleges.

Continually apply for scholarships

Scholarships aren’t just for high school students. There are tons of scholarship programs out there for current students, older individuals starting school, part time students, and parents going back to school. You name it and there is a scholarship for it. All you have to do is research to find them. Every semester you should apply and reapply for scholarships. You’d be surprised at how much of your tuition can be cut out from being awarded numerous small dollar scholarships, so make sure and apply for any amount, not just the sizable ones.

Rent your books instead of buying them

It just might be one of the biggest rip-offs associated with the college expenses, but you have to have books for your classes. Instead of spending over $1,000 on books per semester, rent your books for a fraction of the cost. Companies like Chegg and ValorBooks offer a rental service where they ship the textbooks as well as provide shipping labels for you to ship them back once the semester is over.

Track your educational expenses and deduct them from your income

Yep, college expenses are tax deductible. Take advantage of this by tracking everything you spend on college: tuition, books, a computer, and even pencils. It all adds up and you can get a heftier refund come tax season. You can also get a refund for the interest paid on federal student loans, so make sure to add that to your deductions as well.

Go to a college with fixed-price tuition

There are multiple colleges and universities that offer fixed-price tuition. When attending a fixed-price school, they guarantee that price for tuition will be exactly the same from your freshman year until your senior year. And since many schools hike up the price of tuition every year, this can be a big money saver throughout college.

See if you qualify for tuition waivers

A tuition waiver substantially reduces the price of tuition for those that fall in a specific category, like a veterans or teachers. Certain schools have different waivers but almost all schools have some type of waiver. The most common types of waivers offered by schools are for veterans, Peace Corps workers, teachers, or the dependents of higher education employees, as well as students whose parents work in civil services (i.e. firefighters, police or academics).

Take summer classes

Since most students are living it up and getting as far away from school as possible during the summer, enrollment is very low and this transfers over to the price of classes during this time. Look to see if classes you need are offered during the summer and try to enroll for them then to cut down the cost of classes.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Facts You Never Knew about the Chocolate Chip Cookie

It’s one the most famous desserts enjoyed all around the world. The chocolate chip cookie has been around for decades and has been implemented into many different desserts. To pay homage to the famous chocolate chip cookie, we have created a list of some interesting facts you might not have known about this delicious treat.

first-cookie

Way back in 1937, a woman by the name of Ruth Graves was making Butter Drop Do cookies and didn’t have Bakers chocolate to mix in with the dough. To improvise, she reached for a bar of Nestle chocolate and chopped up chunks to mix in with the dough. Ruth expected the chocolate chunks to melt and mix in with the dough, but instead the chunks kept their shape and, VIOLA! The chocolate chip cookie was made.

largest

In 2003 the world’s largest chocolate chip cookie was made by the Immaculate Baking Company. The cookie weighed a whopping 40,000 pounds with a 101 feet diameter. To create a cookie of this size, it took the team over 8 months and they used a total of 30,000 eggs.

numberone

With an average of 7 billion eaten in a year, the chocolate chip cookie is proven to be a favorite of all. In a study about cookie preference, 50% of Americans chose chocolate chip cookies over oatmeal, peanut butter, and any other type of cookie. In another study, 13.5% of Americans admitted to haven eaten 20 or more chocolate chip cookies in one sitting. The famous cookie is one of the 4 foods that the pickiest of eaters accepts.

cip

If you wanted to buy a bag of chocolate chips before 1937 then you were out of luck. Chances are you probably would not have been looking for them though, cause they didn’t even exist. Nestle created chocolate chips specifically to be used for making chocolate chip cookies. The average cookie contains 6 to 8 chocolate chips, yet one tablespoon of cookie dough can contain a maximum of 50 chocolate chips.

butter

One of the most important ingredients, other than the chocolate chip of course, is butter. Butter contributes the most to the actual taste of the cookie and depending on how you use it in your receipt can change the outcome of the texture and taste. Using melted butter when mixing the dough will create a denser cookie while using a creamy butter makes the cookie have a more soft, cake texture.

Local Farmers Market

How to Save Money at the Farmers Market

Local Farmers Market

So there is a myth about shopping at farmers markets that we would like to bust. Produce at your local farmers market has gained the title of “expensive “when compared to produce at a chain grocery store, and we definitely do not think this is always the case. Along with being good for the local economy, organic, fresher, and better tasting, local produce can also beat out the price of grocery store produce. You just have to know how to shop. To guide you on your next adventure to the local farmers market, here are some tips to follow to save some money.

Go for less than perfect

Let’s get real. Do your apples really need to be the exact shade of red and shaped to perfection? Well for a lot of people, yes they do, but you’re a savvy shopper and your spending habits aren’t affected by fruit vanity. Because the not so pretty items don’t sell as well, a lot of times they are actually discounted in price. And even if the seller isn’t advertising the items are discounted, just ask. Give a concerned look at that deformed peach and simple say, “Is this one full price?”

Don’t make a list

Yes, in most cases making a list when grocery shopping is a must if you’re trying to save, and especially if you’re on a tight budget until the next payday. If you make a list when going to the farmers market, however, then you might not be as cognizant of the lesser expensive items. Instead of going in with a list of specific items, try showing up open minded without any ideas of what fruits and vegetables you need. Plan out meals based on cheaper produce once you are there and can see your options.

Timing is everything

So it’s pouring the rain outside. Pull up your rain boots, grab an umbrella, and head out to the market to score some deals. Supply and demand drive prices in the sense that if there are less people in attendance, then there is less likely of a chance that farmers will be able to sell all items easily. Going to a market when the crowds are low will give you more options with more say so on prices. Going 30 minutes before the market closes is also a good time to get leftovers that vendors will be trying to get rid of by selling cheaper.

Buy in season

A bowl of cherries in the dead of winter may be exactly what you want, but when it comes to budget friendly eating, it’s probably not the best idea. The beauty of a farmers market is that cherries will not even be an option in the middle of January.   Shopping locally will in-fact force you to buy what is in season, and those fruits and vegetables dramatically decrease in price.

Negotiate

It’s a market, not a grocery store. Don’t hesitate to do a little haggling. Remember that produce has an expiration date and these farmers want to get rid of their crops. Try to build a relationship with the regular farmers and show you’re a loyal customer. Chances are they just might cut you a deal on items if you get in good enough.

Fun St. Patrick's Day Crafts For Kids

Paper Plate St. Patty’s Day Crafts

It’s almost St. Patricks day and one of the best ways to celebrate with the kids are some fun and easy crafts. Here are some where all you’ll  need are paper plates, construction paper, scissors, glue, and some paint to do any of these super easy St. Patricks Day crafts. So gather up the kids and start crafting together!

leprechaunText

Lepruchan

clover-hat-textClover_Hat

rainbow-text Rainbow

Pot-of-goldTExt

We offer products similar to a Payday loans, loans, flex loans, title loans, and installment loans, at  Advance Financial. If you need cash fast we got you covered. We offer flexibility with our Pot-of-goldFlex Loan. 

Happy Dog

Small Changes that will Make You Happier in Life

True happiness-Is it not what everyone in life is after? If you view happiness as something that some just naturally have and others do not, then you are looking at this emotion completely wrong. Happiness is a feeling that needs to be nurtured. Everyone deserves to have it, yet you have to make a concise decision to strive for it. Though there are those individuals who are just naturally happier, attaining a greater sense of this emotion and achieving the title of “a happy person” can be done with these simple changes in your life.

Do what you love, love what you do

Is the only thing getting you through the day the anticipation of payday? Make sure the line of work you’re in matches up with things you enjoy doing. If you enjoy math, work in finances. If you’re a people person and enjoy helping others, work in retail or as a customer service rep. You want to be able to look forward to the activities you do everyday and not be counting down the hours till it’s over.

Smile often

Multiple studies have shown that just the act of smiling, whether it be sincere or not, can actually cause one to feel happier. Try to occasionally smile while driving to work everyday and see if your mood is improved.

Start exercising

It has been proven that daily physical activity lowers the risk of depression and anxiety. And don’t think that you now have to get a gym membership and become a fitness junkie. Just simply taking a light jog or walk for 10 minutes a day is all it takes to improve ones happiness and health.

Get adequate sleep

No matter how much you love your job and the people you work with, if you’re tired throughout the day it’s going to affect your mood. Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night will dramatically increase your chances of being happy. That’s 7 to 9 hours of good sleep as well. To help fall into a deep sleep, try to avoid using any mobile devices like tablets or smartphones 30 minutes before hitting the sack.

Spend time with the ones you love

Life is short, so spend it with the ones you love. Love is a strong emotion that is directly intertwined with happiness. Make a conscious effort to start spending more quality time with friends and family.

Get some fresh air

Staying cooped up all day is bound to make anyone go crazy eventually. And with television and the use of smart phones and other devices, you might not even realize how much of your free time is actually spent indoors. Spending more time outside and being exposed to healthy amounts of sunlight has been scientifically proven to trigger endorphins that create the feeling of happiness. Try taking your lunch breaks outside if possible and sitting on a porch or balcony when relaxing after a hard days work. Taking a hike on your day off is another excellent idea, which encompasses both exercise and being outdoors.

Cookies

Facts About the Chocolate Chip Cookie

cookies

It’s one the most famous desserts enjoyed all around the world. The chocolate chip cookie has been around for decades and has been implemented into many different desserts. To pay homage to the famous chocolate chip cookie, we have created a list of some interesting facts you might not have known about this delicious treat.

first-cookie

Way back in 1937, a woman by the name of Ruth Graves was making Butter Drop Do cookies and didn’t have Bakers chocolate to mix in with the dough. To improvise, she reached for a bar of Nestle chocolate and chopped up chunks to mix in with the dough. Ruth expected the chocolate chunks to melt and mix in with the dough, but instead the chunks kept their shape and, VIOLA! The chocolate chip cookie was made.

largest

In 2003 the world’s largest chocolate chip cookie was made by the Immaculate Baking Company. The cookie weighed a whopping 40,000 pounds with a 101 feet diameter. To create a cookie of this size, it took the team over 8 months and they used a total of 30,000 eggs.

numberone

With an average of 7 billion eaten in a year, the chocolate chip cookie is proven to be a favorite of all. In a study about cookie preference, 50% of Americans chose chocolate chip cookies over oatmeal, peanut butter, and any other type of cookie. In another study, 13.5% of Americans admitted to haven eaten 20 or more chocolate chip cookies in one sitting. The famous cookie is one of the 4 foods that the pickiest of eaters accepts.

cip

If you wanted to buy a bag of chocolate chips before 1937 then you were out of luck. Chances are you probably would not have been looking for them though, cause they didn’t even exist. Nestle created chocolate chips specifically to be used for making chocolate chip cookies. The average cookie contains 6 to 8 chocolate chips, yet one tablespoon of cookie dough can contain a maximum of 50 chocolate chips.

butter

One of the most important ingredients, other than the chocolate chip of course, is butter. Butter contributes the most to the actual taste of the cookie and depending on how you use it in your receipt can change the outcome of the texture and taste. Using melted butter when mixing the dough will create a denser cookie while using a creamy butter makes the cookie have a more soft, cake texture.

Halloween Costume

Easy Diy Halloween Costumes

When it comes to Halloween costume preparation, there are 2 types of people. Those who spend a ton of time and money to look the best at whatever event they are attending, and those who could not care less, but need something so they don’t look like a stick in the mud at the party. If you are the latter of the two, then we’ve got a few ideas that will take little effort and money. Below you will find 10 of the easiest DIY costumes, which can be made with items that might already be lying around your house.

minminion


bra

mr-brawny


red

red-riding-hood


mmummy


jellyjelly-beans


honey

honeybooboo


grease

greaser


pres

present


greekgreek-god


rosrosie

Pumpkin Main Image

How to Carve a Pumpkin Like a Pro

mainimage

It’s Halloween time and chances are you’re  seeing a lot of carved pumpkins flooding people’s porches. The idea of perfectly carved pumpkins that will make the neighbors jealous is a great thought, but actually carving the perfect Jack-o-Lantern can be a daunting and messy task. Carving a pumpkin can be simple and easy if you follow the correct steps. Below we have outlined the basics for carving the perfect pumpkin so you’ll be set to start mastering the art of pumpkin carving.

suppliesneeded

 

cut-out-stencil

draw-pumkin

cirlce-at-top

cutting-top

remove-seeds

cutting-out-desing

end2

Happy Reading- Manage Your Finance

10 Things Money Can’t Buy

Happiness

It’s the age-old question. Does money buy happiness? Some studies have shown that if spent the right way, money can in fact buy happiness, but the notion that having more money leads to more happiness is not always the case. Don’t get us wrong, having to stress until payday definitely doesn’t contribute to someone’s happiness. Money may be the answer to happiness related to materialistic things or less stress because of financial stability, but there are certain things in life that money can’t buy. Here is a list of 10 things that are very valued, yet no amount of money can buy them.

True Friendship

Money will definitely bring friends, but true and loyal friendships can’t be bought. A good friend can at times be a life necessity. There through the good times and the bad times, an honest, trusting relationship with someone is something to cherish and hold on to.

“ A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still gently allows you to grow.”

–William Shakespeare

Work Ethic

Being a hard and diligent worker will not only set you on the path to moving up that corporate ladder, but it is also a major reputation builder. Those with a good work ethic are respected and trusted by their peers. It’s a very valuable asset in life and shows true character in a person.

“Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

–Thomas Edison

Love

All you need is love. Love is one of the most powerful and strong emotions that contribute to ones happiness. To love and to be loved is not just something that is wanted by individuals but is needed by all.

“Love cures people, both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.”

– Dr. Karl Menninger

Experience

You can spend thousands on a college education at one the most prestigious schools, but when it comes to real-world experiences you can’t pay a dime for it. You have to put yourself in situations to gain relevant and real life experience. Wisdom is attained by succeeding and failing throughout life, which is exactly what gaining experience is all about.

“ The only source of knowledge is experience.”

– Albert Einstein

Peace of Mind

Some things in life are beyond our control and being able to cope with unexpected downfalls and not letting them affect our mental state negatively is having peace of mind. Peace of mind gives us freedom from stress and greatly contributes to our overall happiness.

“Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.”

–Christian D. Larson

Time

Heard of the saying, “time is money?” Well once its gone, you can’t buy it back. Time is a valuable thing because everyday that passes is one less day you have on this earth. What you chose to do with your time contributes tremendously to being a happy or unhappy person.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” –William Penn

Positive Attitude

It’s all about perspective. Positivity can go a long way to creating a happy state of mind and it’s not something you can just pick up at the grocery store. Being a positive person not only spreads good vibes to your peers, but also contributes to lowering your stress level.

“ We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

– Abraham Lincoln

A Good Reputation

A good reputation is gained by your actions not by your bank account. Though you may get a reputation because you have money, having a good reputation comes down to a person’s character and how their interactions on a daily basis affect others negatively or positively.

“Its takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”

–Benjamin Franklin

Talent

Don’t get a talent confused with a skill. You can pay to learn a skill, but a talent is something that comes naturally. Talents come in many forms, and everyone’s talents are not the same, which makes them a thing of value. How you use your talents can greatly define your happiness.

“Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; Doing what is impossible with talent is genius.”

–Henri Frederic Amiel

Finishing Something

Putting in the time and effort and successfully completing a goal or task is one of the best feelings in the world. Unfortunately you can’t bottle that feeling and sell it. It takes good old-fashioned work to create the satisfying feeling of finishing something.

“Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started. “

–David Allen

Insurance Policy Benefits

Purchases That Should Be Practical

Practical

Self control. It can be one of the hardest rules to abide by when it comes to your purchasing behavior, but also the key to saving money and being better off financially. At a time when a newer version of a product is introduced on a constant basis, this can definitely be a difficult task to undertake. Marketers are working their magic to make you feel like you need the best of the best and the newest version of everything. But really, you don’t. You don’t have to have the newest version, the best version, or the most enhanced version of anything. Practicality is key, and we have created a list of the top items where the most expensive and best version is not always necessary.

  1. Smart Phone

    Face it. That thin, electric box we all carry around has become the one item that many of us can’t live without. This of course is going to make it harder to resist a flashy new version of what you already have. In a lot of cases, the new version isn’t really all that new. Take the IPhone 7 for example. The difference from the 6 and 7 really came down to a slightly better camera. Being practical in the case of a smart phone is being happy with what you have and resisting the urge to do an expensive upgrade every time a newer version comes out. If your current phone serves its purpose, then the practical thing to do would not be getting a new one. Stay happy with what you have and try to make it to the 2-year mark before upgrading to a newer version.

  2. Vehicle

    There is one question that you need to ask yourself when purchasing a vehicle. What is going to be the purpose of this purchase? Do you run a handyman business and need to haul equipment to jobs? Is it to transport your kids to the many practices and school events they are involved in? Looking at a vehicle as a means of transportation is the practical way to buy one. Getting a brand new, expensive truck with all the bells and whistles yet never intending to actually use it to haul anything is probably not spending your money wisely. Of course, everyone has his or her personal preference when it comes to the size of a vehicle, but a vehicle is a major expense that can put you in a mound of debt. No matter which way you breakdown buying a vehicle, it is simply something to transport you from A to B. So save yourself a lot of money, and buy a vehicle, not a prized toy. It’s the practical thing to do.

  3. Appliances

    Here is a little secret about most appliance brands. The exact same companies that manufacture the expensive brands usually manufacture the “off” brands as well. That means the warranties are usually just as good as well, so there really is nothing to fear with the cheaper options. You may not get the little extra add-ons that come with some of the more expensive fridges, stoves, and dishwashers, but remember the key word for this article – practical. Do you really need a fridge with an LCD screen that shows a slideshow of family pictures? The answer is no.

  4. TV Subscriptions

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock, its pretty oblivious that streaming services like Netflix have been all the rage the last couple of years. So much so that a lot of people are ditching cable because of it. But if you really think about it, most of us don’t even watch the majority of the channels with cable or satellite. Instead of paying 100+ a month, switch over to a streaming service like Sling TV. The basic Sling TV package will allow you to stream roughly 20 channels, including ESPN, TBS and TNT, for a flat $20 a month. What’s even better is you get to choose the channels you want.

  5. Groceries

    Let us preface this with saying that there are some brands you are going to be completely loyal to and can’t live without- JIF Peanut Butter for example. But for the majority of the groceries you buy, it’s a lot more practical and easier on your wallet to get the off brand products. Brands like Great Value from Wal-Mart, or Kroger Brand usually have all the same options, while tasting almost the same. And just like appliances, a lot of the “off” brands are actually manufactured by the exact same companies, so you’re not compromising on quality.